Liisa Korpela is passionate about making herbal products and practicing sustainability for the plants that heal, the people she loves, and the planet that provides for us all. She is an experienced herbalist, creative gardener, and the founder of Bella Botanica, a natural health & beauty company. Her gorgeous urban homestead and apothecary in downtown Eugene supports native, medicinal, and food plants, as well as a flock of happy chickens and buzzy bee hives.
In 1995, Liisa received her BFA degree in the Fine Arts of Textiles and Natural Dyeing with a Major in Biology. After graduation, Liisa began to delve more intimately into the world of plants by working with native flora, ecosystems, propagation, and gardening in the Pacific Northwest. She began her formal herbal studies in 1996 at the Blue Iris School of Botanical Studies with Colette Gardiner, and then at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies with Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager, and most recently studied to be a Certified Women's Herbal Educator with Dr. Aviva Jill Romm.
Liisa has also traveled extensively co-leading eco-tours to Costa Rica and served for 7 years as the executive director on tours to Egypt and Peru’s sacred sites. Weaving the art and science of Herbalism, Liisa inspires others to build relationships with nature while learning holistic ways to care for their body, mind, and spirit.
We are so excited to have Liisa, our friend and teacher, share her wealth of wisdom and experience formulating natural skincare products, as well as her deep understanding of sacred herbalism and ritual at Rootstalk!
To celebrate the very first Rootstalk Festival, Liisa is offering a bounty of amazing prizes for our giveaway series! Enjoy our interview below and learn more about how you can win some incredible goodies from Bella Botanica. We will pick 3 winners!
1. What classes will you be teaching at Rootstalk this year?
Beauty from the Earth
Friday - 11am - Clark Hall
For millennia we have looked to nature for the answers to staying and looking young. It is within the earth’s flowers, fruits, barks, and roots that we have unveiled the secrets and revealed answers. During Beauty from the Earth, we will have the opportunity to dive into the world of natural beauty care. We will take a look at the skin, our largest eliminatory organ, and practices to keep it healthy. As well as ingredients to watch out for in our products and the ingredients we should focus on to keep our skin glowing and youthful.
The Spirit of Herbalism
Saturday - 4pm - Meet at Archery
Our ancestors saw all life as sacred and in all life there possessed an intelligence that was shared. Listening to nature was considered "the way" one learned about the magical and medicinal properties of the plants. This symbiotic and intertwined relationship with plants and nature has been lost to us, as we have "fallen out of the garden" separated from nature and our natural selves. But with this new generation of interested herbalist and plant enthusiast, we are rebuilding and restoring these ancient relationships with nature. As we learn to listen to these plant teachers we are rekindling our innate abilities to connect with nature and transform our ailments and disease into health, strength and personal growth.
2. What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced in the wild or through your work?
One day weeding in the garden around a Milk Thistle plant, I was particularly distraught over a scenario with two friends. I did not like how one friend was treating the other friend, and it irritated me how he was handling a particular situation. I grumbled, frustrated as I went over and over the drama in my head. Each time reaching down under the Milk Thistle for more weeds, I would get poked and scratched and pull my arm back in retreat. After a few minutes of this torturous weeding job, I sat back thinking of the scenario one more time and clearly I heard that I must forgive the person that had made me so frustrated. The next day I opened up a book on herbs and there was Milk Thistle “The plant of forgiveness.” This changed everything that I had thought I had known about plants. This plant had communicated this lesson of forgiveness to me. I had so much more to learn!
3. What is your primary environmental concern?
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
4. What can people do to help combat this in their community?
People need to be educated about the concerns of the rapidly progressing release of GMO crops in this country. There has been very little oversight, testing and debate about these crops, and the ramification of the damage that they cause to the livelihoods of family farms, our health, and the environment. When polled, the majority of the population would like to be informed about the products that are genetically modified. But due to corporate interest and the wide use of GMOs already on the market place that could be potentially harmed, this information is not being released. Since the federal government is not stepping up to protecting it’s citizens on these issues, we need to pressure our local and state government to set up truth in labeling requirements on GMOs. We need to demand that the businesses we invest into our supporting us with our requests to be informed about what is in our products. That way we as consumers can make the educated choice into what we wish to support.
5. What do you hope to experience at Rootstalk this first year?
At Rootstalk this year, I hope to experience a place where community can gather together to learn, share and create sustainable ways for us to navigate through the changing times we are experiencing on our planet right now. More than ever we need to revitalize the tools that have existed through time that work for us and the earth in a gentle way.
6. What is your favorite plant and why?
Though it is hard for me to nail down any one plant as my favorite, today I would say it is Violas. Violas represent the coming of spring. One of the first plants to flower, their sweet aroma flirts through the air, inviting one to smile as you realize that spring is afoot and the sun is returning once more. Full of Vitamin A & C, the whole plant is nutritive. A wonderful addition to salads, a gentle heart medicine (thus the name Heartease), a soothing respiratory tonic, and a general wound healer. This plant is an excellent ground cover and is easily grown in the shade.
We will choose 3 very lucky winners to receive one of these amazing gifts from Bella Botanica!
The Ultimate "Pamper Me!" Basket
One winner will receive this lovely basket filled with handmade goodies to nourish the skin and relax muscles! Supreme Cream ~ Vanilla Lip Balm ~ Citrus Bliss Flower Shower ~ Juniper Rose Sea Scrub ~ Citrus Bliss Massage Oil
Home Sweet Home Massage Kit
One winner will receive a bottle of the deliciously refreshing Citrus Bliss Flower Shower and a bottle of Rosie's Delight Massage Oil!
Bella Botanica Gift Certificate
How to Enter:
There are several ways to enter and you can submit up to 6 entries for a chance to win these marvelous prizes!
1. Explore Bella Botanica and leave a comment here telling us about another product, class, or service Liisa offers that you'd love to experience.
2. Like Bella Botanica on Facebook and leave a comment here to let us know that you’re a fan.
3. Like the Rootstalk Festival on Facebook and leave a comment here to let us know that you’re a fan.
4. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a comment here to let us know you’ve posted the link.
5. Follow the Bella Botanica Blog and leave a comment here to let us know that you're a reader!
6. Tweet about our blog giveaway on Twitter using the tag #BellaRootstalk and leave a comment here to let us know that you’ve tweeted. Be sure to follow us @bellabotanica and @MtnRoseHerbs!
You have until Tuesday, September 20th at 11:59pm PST to enter. We will pick 3 winners at random on Thursday, September 21st!